Judge Rules Oakland Officers Were Fired Improperly

Four Oakland officers who were fired after fatally shooting a man in 2018 must be reinstated with back pay, a judge has ruled.

Joshua Pawlik, 31, was sleeping with a gun when the four officers roused him awake. The officers said he would not put the gun down, so they fired. Pawlik’s mother says they didn’t give him enough time to wake and process the situation. In 2020, the Oakland City Council agreed to pay her $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit.

Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch found that Oakland city employees “improperly manipulated” an investigator’s report concluding that the officers were unjustly fired. The city violated its own policies in its effort to terminate the officers, the judge said.

The city stands by its decision, with Communications Director Karen Boyd stating that city officials “adhered to the letter and spirit of the labor agreement, and believe the Court erred in finding otherwise.”

Pawlik’s mother is also upset by the decision. She says it amounts to a four-year paid vacation for the men who killed her son.


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